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6 years ago  ::  Feb 25, 2008 - 9:41AM #1
colombadellapace
Posts: 5
Hi there, let me introduce myself. I was born into a Christian family and baptized in the Catholic Church. Until I was fourteen my family attended a Presbyterian Church, which we later left due to political issues. However, I have always felt that I don't really fit anywhere within the Catholic or Presbyterian faiths. For the past year I have been trying to find myself through researching new faiths, but I am always drawn to the wrong conclusions. For a time I felt very connected to the Jewish faith, but now I feel as though I don't want to give up on Christianity. I miss the support and community that comes along with the church, but I don't know where to turn to find that community. The Unitarian Universalists seem to be very accepting of all backgrounds, and I think that I would like to give them a try.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 26, 2008 - 1:19PM #2
liayn
Posts: 4
hello there.  i'm new myself and am looking into UU for the same reasons.  i think this Sunday i'm going to attend a service and see how it goes.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 02, 2008 - 8:00AM #3
colombadellapace
Posts: 5
Good luck!
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2008 - 11:17AM #4
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,029
Hi- colombadellapace & liayn.  It seems your reasoning is sound.  Most UU congregations encourage people with diverse religious backgrounds to share and explore what might work and what might be modified to work a bit better.  I do suggest shopping around if possible as each UU congregation is unique in its emphasis. 

Welcome, I hope your local congregation works out for each of you. 

jcarlinbn
Jcarlinbn, community moderator
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2008 - 12:31PM #5
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

colombadellapace wrote:

The Unitarian Universalists seem to be very accepting of all backgrounds, and I think that I would like to give them a try.



Sounds familiar, even down to your having been raised Catholic as I was.

If you don't happen to have a UU fellowship or congregation close enough to where you live to make attendance practical, do check into the online UU Church of the Larger Fellowship. I belonged to it for about 15 years when I lived 200 miles from the nearest UU church. Even though I occasionally attended a local Methodist church, I never felt very comfortable there...much too "Jesusy" for my tastes. CLF met my spiritual needs, whereas I used the local Methodist church for fellowship and "people contact" in a religious sense when I felt a need for such.

CLF, as it's commonly called, offers a 3-month trial membership which provides many of the benefits of membership, including borrowing privileges from the excellent CLF lending library-by-mail. The CLF site also offers online study courses on various aspects of UUism, some free, others for a relatively modest fee. This can be a good way to get a sense of whether or not Unitarian Universalism in the more abstract sense will meet your needs as anyone can sign on to the CLF discussion forums and participate in study courses in case you prefer not to get quite so involved as the trial membership.

Should you then decide you'd like to become a member, CLF operates much as a bricks-and-mortar church does in that respect. You pledge whatever you feel you can afford toward supporting the services offered by CLF and contribute just as you would in a "reality" church. As a member, you also have access to the toll-free number for the CLF minister in case you find that you need such aid. What exactly is available with membership is spelled out on the CLF site, linked below.

Better, of course, for most people is to affiliate with a local church or fellowship if you can. In this case, I suggest going to a month's worth of services at least. As J'Carlin points out, UU churches are so different, and service themes can vary so much from Sunday to Sunday, that a full month of regular attendance will give you the best sense of whether or not you feel comfortable in that church.

If you're fortunate enough to have more than one UU church or fellowship within a reasonable distance, do try others on the same basis if the first one you attend doesn't suit. It's quite possible for one UU church in a city to be very atheist-humanist-agnostic, for instance, whereas another may be far more into spirituality or traditional Unitarian-Universalism with much mention of God. So don't assume that the first one you try is representative of the others.

A little-known division of the denomination is Friends of the UUA, often used by those who wish to retain membership in another church, but which is intended for anyone who doesn't feel s/he wishes to become a full-fledged member of the church but wants a more formal affiliation with the church than simply attending. There are several Friends in my church who are quite involved with church activities but for one reason or another choose not to become members. One's status is quite close to that of a full member but, of course, doesn't offer some of the privileges of membership. This can vary from church to church, however, as to just what privileges are extended to Friends of the Church, as they're typically called.

Clickable links below:

CLF membership info
Unitarian Universalist Association homepage
Finding a congregation near you

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2008 - 6:00PM #6
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
Ooops! Apologies to the OP. I obviously can't read, since you said you'd only been baptized Catholic but that your family attended the Presbyterian church for most of your childhood.

Oh, well...the Catholics still claim you, which frankly annoys me. I wish there were a way for a person to resign your status as a Catholic formally when you'd prefer to do that.
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